Martin survives tough day for debut win

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Photo: Euan Cameron

Andy Martin has recorded his first class win in only his third ever event in the Brian Green Property Group New Zealand Rally Championship driven by VINZ after a somewhat challenging Rally Canterbury over the weekend.

Martin and co-driver Matt Hayward headed to the third round of the NZRC full of confidence after their New Zealand Forest Leasing Mazda RX-3 had a sleep over with the rear-wheel drive gurus at Palmside in Christchurch after their previous event, Rally Otago, earlier in the month.

The new set-up in the car worked a treat and Martin set the second fastest time in the freezing cold stage one, held in the dark, before moving into the lead on stage two, with sub-zero temperatures literally seeing crews driving on ice in places to round out the perfect start before the overnight break.

Day two started well as Martin extended his lead in the class, but a gearbox problem in stage four, the days second, saw the car stuck in second gear and screaming along the stages.

The team changed gearboxes in the Mazda and while they were able to carry on, lost the use of both first and reverse gears. There were further dramas when the car stalled in a ford and one final sphincter shutter on the final stage with a spin.

“Matt jumped out to push us as we had no reverse but I managed to dump the clutch and turn it around. That nearly put the car in the bank on the outside, and Matt too!! In hindsight it was a good laugh,” said Martin. “I’ve never been so glad to see the finish line, a class win really is a bonus. I have to thank everyone who helped change the gearbox and kept us in the rally.”

The Carbon Works Rally Team now turn their attention to the Malcolm Stewart Classic Rally as part of Rally Wairarapa on June 28.


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The New Zealand Rally Championship is this country’s premier nationwide rally championship. It attracts New Zealand’s best drivers to compete in numerous categories for the prestigious MotorSport New Zealand-sanctioned rally championship titles. In 2024, there are six NZRC rounds, each with a unique character reflecting the diverse regions – from Northland to Invercargill